Fine, I'm going to swallow my bitter hatred - or is it hateful bitterness? - and pick...Kevin Hatcher, D
Probably never should have dropped this far. Appeared in 5 All-Star games (1 representing the Penguins), member of US Hockey Hall of Fame, had a heavy shot and, unlike Sergei Zubov, liked to use it. Still hate the trade, but all in all Hatcher had 3 fine seasons with the Pens. 45 G, 95 A in 140 GP. His subsequent trade was one of the many salary dumps the Pens were forced to do in the years to come.
For three years, Kevin Hatcher was the anchor on the Penguins' blue line, putting in more ice time, performing more duties than anyone on the roster.
And in the time it takes to tee up a slap shot, he was gone.
"The first thing that comes to mind is that it's like a death in the family," Coach Kevin Constantine said yesterday, minutes after telling Hatcher he had been traded to the New York Rangers for defenseman Peter Popovic. "I don't know how else to feel. You spend two-plus years working with a person, and he does so much for you. Then, in a five-minute time period, you've got to say goodbye."